Landslides kill 6, leave 5 missing in northern Vietnam

By Gia Chinh   August 3, 2018 | 08:17 am PT
Seven houses were buried under dirt and rocks after heavy rain through Friday triggered landslides in the mountainous Lai Chau Province.

The landslides in three communes of Phong Tho District have killed six people, while two were injured and another five are still missing, according to Ha Van Um, director of Lai Chau's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Rescue efforts however were hindered as Phong Tho District was still being battered by heavy rain and roads leading to the affected communes have been damaged by landslides.

"We have sent militiamen to search for the missing people, bury the dead and evacuate the people to safe areas," Um said.

Soldiers look for victims after landslides swept through Lai Chau Province on Friday.

Soldiers look for victims after landslides swept through Lai Chau Province on Friday.

A strengthening tropical depression is set to release moderate rains of 16-50 millimeters over northern Vietnam, starting Friday night, according to the National Center for Hydrometeorological Forecasting.

Heavier rain (51-100 millimeters per day) is expected in the midlands and highlands regions, which is likely to trigger flash floods and landslides in mountainous provinces, including Lai Chau and its neighbors. The rainfall is forecast to persist until Sunday, August 5.

Since July 13, northern Vietnam has experienced continual heavy downpours due to the influence of a tropical convergence zone, followed by tropical depression.

Mountainous provinces like Yen Bai, Son La and Lao Cai have suffered severely from flash floods and landslides. Several urban areas in Quang Ninh and Thanh Hoa provinces as well as the capital city are still deep in water.

Nearly 40 people have been killed in the latest flooding, mostly in Yen Bai, Son La and Thanh Hoa. The number includes three children who drowned in Hanoi’s Chuong My District.

Natural disasters including floods and tropical storms killed more than 390 people across the country last year and caused damage worth nearly VND52.2 trillion ($2.34 billion), according to official figures.

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